Authorities say the cold winter and recent thaws have led to an unusual number of potholes and other road damage nationwide, with the extent becoming clearer as both milder weather arrives and work parties have removed the bulk of the snow cover.
While the freeze-thaw action towards the end of winter causes trauma to road surfaces every year, this year the damage is particularly evident, head of the Transport Board's (Transpordiamet) infrastructure construction and maintenance department Janar Tükk told ERR.
"There are always cracks in the roads, into which water can flow into the road-bed when temperatures are above zero, or remain in the cracks otherwise. This freezes and expands when temperatures fall," Tükk said (see gallery).
Tallinn deputy mayor Vladimir Svet told ERR, however, that as of now the picture in Tallinn, at least, is roughly the same as it is every winter.
He said: "At the moment, there is no clear reason to say that there will be more irregularities on city roads this year than in previous years. AS a comparison, 2,700 square meters of surfaces have been repaired this winter so far, compared with 7,000 square meters for the whole of last winter and 14,000 square meters in the winter of 2019-2020."
"Final conclusions can only be drawn in the middle of spring, when the ice and snow are finally gone and maintenance work has been completed," he added.
Through January, pothole repair by the city of Tallinn's contract partner cost €160,000, Svet said, with the figure likely to double by the end of winter.
Janar Tükk said nationwide the annual work costs around €5 million.
Most repair work is fairly ad hoc until regular, average daily temperatures rise above 5C, after which large-scale work involving asphalt can begin.
Potholes more than 20cm in diameter and more than 5cm in depth are in any case marked with signage to warn drivers.
Impact from studded winter tires and heavy vehicles were among the main causes of the worst of the damage, Svet added.
Tallinn-dwellers can report potholes and other damage via the Municipal Police (MuPo) 'phone number, 14410.
Editor: Andrew Whyte